The Girl Who Dreamed: A Hong Kong Memoir of Triumph Against the Odds

HK$138.00

  • USD: US$17.64
  • CNY: CN¥126.88
  • GBP: £13.90
  • EUR: €16.26
  • AUD: AU$26.94

Available on: March 8, 2024

By Sonia Leung
At the age of 14, Sonia Leung was raped by her ping-pong coach.
 
She had moved from China two-and-a-half years earlier to join her family in Hong Kong, but she could not fit in. The family of six lived in a cramped subdivided hut in a Kowloon squatter village but rarely communicated with each other. The difficulties of adjusting to colonial Hong Kong heightened the tensions between her parents. Feeling trapped and unloved, Sonia was too afraid to tell anyone about the rape. She saved money by working part-time at McDonald’s and, a year later, she bought a one-way plane ticket to Taipei and ran away from home.
 
The Girl Who Dreamed is a memoir of her childhood in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan – and how, through work and further education, she found her way to an independent life away from the family and world from which she needed to free herself.

Available on: March 8, 2024

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SKU: 9789887674856 Category: Tags: , , , , , ,

Description

At the age of 14, Sonia Leung was raped by her ping-pong coach.
 
She had moved from China two-and-a-half years earlier to join her family in Hong Kong, but she could not fit in. The family of six lived in a cramped subdivided hut in a Kowloon squatter village but rarely communicated with each other. The difficulties of adjusting to colonial Hong Kong heightened the tensions between her parents. Feeling trapped and unloved, Sonia was too afraid to tell anyone about the rape. She saved money by working part-time at McDonald’s and, a year later, she bought a one-way plane ticket to Taipei and ran away from home.
 
The Girl Who Dreamed is a memoir of her childhood in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan – and how, through work and further education, she found her way to an independent life away from the family and world from which she needed to free herself.
 
REVIEWS

“Sonia Leung has woven together her own story of survival, ambition, and self-discovery as a contemporary Chinese woman from a difficult background with a story of family history, one that is particular to her ancestral family’s mainland Chinese and overseas Chinese background, coupled with her parents’ decision to move to Hong Kong that proves significant, sad and transformative for her and her family. This is set against the recent history of China and Hong Kong. Threaded through this narrative is Sonia’s relation to literature in general and classic Chinese literature in particular. However, her discovery, as an unhappy and abused young girl, of popular Taiwan romance novels, is equally as moving. The self-determination of the protagonists of such novels serves as inspiration for her to make an extraordinary ‘escape’ out of Hong Kong. That section demonstrates, with extraordinary power and poignancy, Sonia’s ambition that is given wings, as it were, by the power of imagination found through reading.” – Xu Xi, author of That Man in Our Lives

“When I first read Sonia Leung’s work, I was struck by her literary skills. I was clearly in the hands of a remarkable writer, with a deft hand for character, imagery, scene. Leung joins to that an unsparing eye for the tensions of class and gender in contemporary China. Leung is a remarkably brave narrator, exposing her own abuse, and the trauma of her family’s role in that abuse. In this beautiful read, Leung teaches us that redemption happens both outside and inside. As #MeToo stalls, Sonia Leung arrives to show us what that movement really means.” – Susanne Antonetta, author of The Terrible Unlikelihood of Our Being Here

“Leung’s writing is punchy and detailed, and there is clearly a very powerful story of growth and transformation that parallels and throws light upon China’s own journey into the modern world.” – Justin Hill, author of The Drink and Dream Teahouse

“One strength Leung decidedly has is a graphic and vivid sense of the physicality of a setting … Related to her graphic and vivid sense of language is the effective use of dialogue, enabling her to quickly bring the reader into the middle of a scene.” – Luis Francia, author of Eye of the Fish: A Personal Archipelago

“Sonia Leung’s The Girl Who Dreamed is an uncompromising and inspiring account of resilience and perseverance in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges. In a beautifully crafted narrative, rich with allusions to the classics of Chinese literature, Leung details how the life of one girl who dreamed of self-actualisation in Hong Kong was brutally unraveled by those she trusted shortly after rejoining her family in a slum in Diamond Hill. Leung’s story – which took 10 years to write – is all the more remarkable considering she took her first English class in Hong Kong aged 12. The Girl Who Dreamed marks something of a watershed moment in memoir-writing in Hong Kong literature. Never before have the first-hand experiences of the impoverished mainland immigrants arriving into Hong Kong in the 1980s been so carefully narrated from a girl’s and then a young woman’s perspective. The narrative of brutal gendered violence experienced at the hands of local and expat men is surely a story that rings true for many women who have migrated to Hong Kong. Leung’s memoir gives readers the opportunity to come to terms with the trauma of migration coupled with violence that so many experienced. But her narrative goes further still; in a remarkable display of fortitude and authorial conviction, Leung repeatedly demonstrates how hope can be found in reading and in writing, even when pain becomes too suffocating to endure or even acknowledge.” – Michael O’Sullivan, author of Lockdown Lovers

Additional information

Weight 420 g
Dimensions 140 × 216 mm
Pages

294

Binding

Paperback

About the author

Sonia Leung is an award-winning poet, fiction, and creative non-fiction writer from Hong Kong. Her work has appeared in literary journals and anthologies worldwide. She is the author of Don’t Cry, Phoenix (2020), a poetry collection. The Girl Who Dreamed is her second book. She is finalizing her third, Three-inch Heaven: Stories of Resilience and Determination, a collection of essays and short stories reflecting Chinese women’s lives.